Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gadgets that know a lot about your life

Rob Pegoraro wrote an article which appeared in the Washington Post on a new product, Eye Fi Explore. Purchase this little memory card for your digital camera and it slides in like any memory unit. But, get this. It has a WiFi receiver that connects to a database of wireless networks to let you know where your pictures were taken. No, not just the time and date. The place.

Now your cellphone saves your calls, and MP3 players can recite the songs you listened to, but this little gadget gives by default a record of where you traveled and took photos. You can “geotag” your photos. Log on using the company’s software, and you’ll see your pictures alongside a Google Maps view of each photo.

“Photos taken in my house, on my walk to the Metro and between my subway stop and the office all showed up within feet of the correct locations, and Eye-Fi placed a shot from a train platform at Union Station a block or two away. It was almost spooky to see my path plotted on the map like this,” Pegoraro wrote. “Once it uploads your photos, Eye-Fi runs those MAC addresses through a database of WiFi networks compiled by a Boston firm, Skyhook Wireless, that sends cars with WiFi and GPS sensors down one street after another through parts of North America, Europe and Asia.” In his experiment, some photos were incorrectly placed at his friend’s home where they had lived until late last year. Updates and current info out on wireless networks are what makes it work or fail.

I don’t think I am ready for this. I get irritated when my camera prints the day and date on all my photos. Are we too lazy or senile to remember or keep a log of photos we have taken? There was a commercial on the airwaves recently where a young woman questions how much her machines know about her. She worries what the toaster is saying about her to the clock radio. Or was that the camera?

Pick up George Orwell’s 1984, which was written in 1949, if you want to see the future, or is that the present?

Written by PCH at Main

No comments: